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Why You Need a Mantra
By Seth Meyers   View more articles by this author
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September 21

In the world of psychology and mental health, self-talk refers to the inner dialogue we have in our minds as we go through our daily lives.  When something bad happens to you, for example, you probably have a thought that flies through your head.  For some, you may think to yourself 'I was so stupid,' while others may blow it off and think 'It wasn't my fault - I tried as hard as I could.'  Whatever it is that you say to yourself, it's what we call self-talk.
 
The goal for all of us is to learn to use positive self-talk - say positive things to yourself in response to the day's events - and to cause the negative self-talk to fade out or disappear altogether.  After all, what good does beating yourself up do?
 
Most people who live in the real world - the one outside of the psychobabble bubble us shrinks tend to get caught in - don't recognize the term 'self-talk' but you have probably heard the term 'mantra.'  While it may sound a little too New Agey for you to digest like a smoothie, research supports the importance of positive thinking and training yourself to think positive thoughts.  When you use a mantra, you tend to repeat it over time, and it becomes something akin to a built-in coping mechanism.
 
The first thing you need to do is ask yourself what behaviors you want to change.  You develop your mantra with the ingredients of hope and intention to change.  Your mantra may be "I will get through this - no matter what" or perhaps "I can't change the past but I will change the future."  Once you've created your mantra, don't stop there.  Write it down on a Post-It note and tape it to the wall next to your bed or to your desk at work. Using this simple technique - a mantra - serves as a constant reminder that you have put your old behavior on notice and that things are about to change!

Finally, remember that different mantras work for different phases you go through on the way toward change.  If you find that you've been using one that has lost its power and applicability to where you are currently, toss it out and create a new one.  Change takes hyper-vigilance.  Having a mantra and keeping it updated is one of the key factors that will help you reach your goals.

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Comment by desposi
28 Sep 2009 03:53 AM
interesting, a mantra is important, as ive had various ones throughout my life probably pop through my head at various points. they have all driven me further than i would have gone without them
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